The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (Texprocil) has urged the Indian government to take immediate steps in formulating a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK. The forthcoming visit of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson presents just the opportune moment to formulate a comprehensive framework for commencing FTA negotiations, it said.
Prime Minister Johnson will visit India as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2021.
UK is one of India’s largest trading partners amongst the European countries in the textiles and clothing (T&C) sector, accounting for almost 24 per cent of the T&C products exported from India to the EU region.
“The UK has already signed trade agreements with 62 countries ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1, 2021, including countries like Turkey, Canada, Singapore, Mexico etc. It therefore becomes all the more imperative for India to commence the process of negotiations without any delay as India may lose the first mover advantage and consequent market share,” Texprocil chairman Manoj Patodia said in a press release.
Patodia also requested the government to simultaneously revive and expedite the FTA negotiation with the EU, as it is one the leading markets for India’s exports of T&C products where competing countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam have an edge over India due to a zero tariff arrangement.
India’s exports to the EU have been stagnating over the last six years, while countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan have shown positive export growth to EU during the same period.
“Any further delay will only serve to hamper India’s T&C exports as the competing countries will surge ahead,” Patodia added.